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Molecular Mechanism of Sulfated Carbohydrate Recognition: Structural and Biochemical Studies of the Cysteine-Rich Domain of Mannose Receptor


Liu, Yang (2001) Molecular Mechanism of Sulfated Carbohydrate Recognition: Structural and Biochemical Studies of the Cysteine-Rich Domain of Mannose Receptor. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/fj0v-hx76.


Mannose receptor (MR) is widely expressed on macrophages, immature dendritic cells, and a variety of epithelial and endothelial cells. It is a 180 kD type I transmembrane receptor whose extracellular region consists of three parts: the amino-terminal cysteine-rich domain (Cys-MR); a fibronectin type II-like domain; and a series of eight tandem C-type lectin carbohydrate recognition domains (CRDs). Two portions of MR have distinct carbohydrate recognition properties: Cys-MR recognizes sulfated carbohydrates and the tandem CRD region binds terminal mannose, fucose, and N-acetyl-glucosamine (GlcNAc). The dual carbohydrate binding specificity allows MR to interact with sulfated and nonsulfated polysaccharide chains, and thereby facilitating the involvement of MR in immunological and physiological processes. The immunological functions of MR include antigen capturing (through binding non-sulfated carbohydrates) and antigen targeting (through binding sulfated carbohydrates), and the physiological roles include rapid clearance of circulatory luteinizing hormone (LH), which bears polysaccharide chains terminating with sulfated and non-sulfated carbohydrates.

We have crystallized and determined the X-ray structures of unliganded Cys-MR (2.0 Å) and Cys-MR complexed with different ligands, including Hepes (1.7 Å), 4SO_4-N-Acetylgalactosamine (4SO_4-GalNAc; 2.2 Å), 3SO_4-Lewis^x (2.2 Å), 3S04-Lewis^a (1.9 Å), and 6SO_4-GalNAc (2.5 Å). The overall structure of Cys-MR consists of 12 anti-parallel β-strands arranged in three lobes with approximate three fold internal symmetry. The structure contains three disulfide bonds, formed by the six cysteines in the Cys-MR sequence. The ligand-binding site is located in a neutral pocket within the third lobe, in which the sulfate group of ligand is buried. Our results show that optimal binding is achieved by a carbohydrate ligand with a sulfate group that anchors the ligand by forming numerous hydrogen bonds and a sugar ring that makes ring-stacking interactions with Trpll7 of CysMR. Using a fluorescence-based assay, we characterized the binding affinities between CysMR and its ligands, and rationalized the derived affinities based upon the crystal structures. These studies reveal the mechanism of sulfated carbohydrate recognition by Cys-MR and facilitate our understanding of the role of Cys-MR in MR recognition of its ligands.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Biology
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Major Option:Biology
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Bjorkman, Pamela J. (advisor)
  • Meyerowitz, Elliot M. (co-advisor)
Thesis Committee:
  • Bjorkman, Pamela J. (chair)
  • Deshaies, Raymond Joseph
  • Mayo, Stephen L.
  • Rees, Douglas C.
  • Rothenberg, Ellen V.
  • Meyerowitz, Elliot M.
Defense Date:14 September 2000
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:03102014-140846235
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:8119
Deposited On:10 Mar 2014 22:43
Last Modified:08 Nov 2023 00:16

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